Immigration developments in the MENA Region

Date Posted:Mon, 7th Jan 2019

Immigration developments in the MENA Region

January Update


United Arab Emirates

The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship extended the amnesty for illegal residents in the United Arab Emirates until 31 December 2018. The initiative, called ‘Protect Yourself by Modifying Your Status’, allowed foreign nationals to regularize their status by either leaving the UAE without paying fines, or by changing their sponsorship inside the country.


The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation has introduced a list of job descriptions, as part of the new occupational classification scheme used for work permit applications in the mainland. Employers may find it more difficult to select an appropriate job title under the new scheme since it contains fewer positions than the previous scheme and because most of the job titles require the foreign national to provide a degree certificate. The new scheme is effective immediately.


Effective February 2019, the governmental fee for the issuance of a medical fitness certificate for foreign nationals seeking residence in Oman will be increased to OMR 30 from OMR 10, according to an announcement by the Ministry of Health. It is expected that private clinics will also increase their fees for conducting medical tests (currently the charge is approximately OMR 20).


The National Assembly of Kuwait has approved a draft law mandating that health insurance coverage must be provided to all foreign residents and visitors in the country. Once the new law is ratified, proof of insurance is expected to be compulsory for the issuance of employment and residence permits as well as for approval of visitor visas. It is not clear when the ratification process will be complete.


The Ministry of Interior has introduced an Arrival Notification Card that must be completed by foreign nationals travelling for employment to Federal Iraq. The Card must be handed to an immigration officer upon entry. Affected individuals must fill out two cards and retain one after it has been stamped by the immigration officers on arrival. Personal information, visa type and details of the Letter of Invitation must be filled up by the foreign national. The Card must be included in the application packet for obtaining a multiple entry-exit visa that allows for departure from Iraq.